Calisthenics For The Mind

Photo illustration. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

Photo illustration. (Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

We’re going to talk now about kids and learning and what advances in neuroscience say about both those things and, we’ll start with a question: If a 7-year old plays a certain logic game an hour a couple times a week, how much do you think it might improve her score on a test of reasoning? 5 percent? 10 percent? Maybe not at all?

One MIT researcher found that in one high-poverty neighborhood, playing logic games boosted reasoning scores by 30%. It’s just one of an emerging battery of studies that point to just how “plastic” our brains really are.

And, it hints at the possibility that certain games can how children learn by changing how their brains work. The question is, do those temporary higher scores lead to life long gains in academic achievement?


Ingrid Wickelgren, editor at Scientific American Mind. You can read her Streams of Consciousness blog here. Her recent cover story is here.

Allyson Mackey, research scientist at the Gabrieli Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Other stories from this show:

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Host Meghna Chakrabarti introduces us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and brings us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3 p.m. and 10 p.m.

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